The question of ‘value’ – how to value, how to evaluate, what is valuable – runs through much of my work as an economic sociologist. In contemporary neoliberal societies, the question of value is very often conflated with that of price. When we seek to value something, and especially when we ask an expert to value something, we are very often trying calculate how much money it might be worth in the marketplace. The reason the topic of cultural value is an important and urgent one is that it requires us to think about value in a more open-ended way, to think beyond the price system, towards notions of intrinsic value and other mechanisms of extrinsic valuation. The Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value offers an excellent opportunity to think about the politics and economics of culture, and to interrogate the role of market and non-market valuation tools in society more broadly.
Will Davies is Director of Graduate Studies in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies.
His research looks at the interface between economic methods and public policy. He completed his PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London, in 2009, with a thesis exploring how particular traditions of economics have conceptualised competition as a form of socio-economic order, and then inflitrated policy-making institutions.
Since then, his research has examined the rise of economic psychology as a tool for policy-making, as manifest in behavioural and happiness economics. Theoretically, his work draws on Boltanski, Foucault, Weber and various examples of 'cultural political economy'. He has also researched and written about co-operatives and alternatives to shareholder-owned firms.
He has previously held positions at The Institute for Science Innovation & Society, University of Oxford, and the Centre for Mutual & Employee-owned Business, University of Oxford.
Email: William dot J dot Davies at warwick dot ac dot uk